Injuries to the neck caused by a rapid movement of the head backward, forward, or side to side, is referred to as “Whiplash.” Whether a result of a car accident, sport, or work injury, whiplash or other neck injuries warrant a thorough chiropractic check-up.
In the past, a typical whiplash injury where no bones were broken, was hard to document. Soft tissue injuries do not show up on x-ray and insurance companies would deny coverage. Literally adding insult to injury, the patient suffering all too real pain was considered to be a fraud, a liar, or at best a hypochondriac. New imaging devices (CAT Scans, Magnetic Imaging, and Ultra-Sound) may now show soft tissue injury and now insurance companies cover most whiplash injuries. The biggest danger with these injuries is that the symptoms can take years to develop. Too often people don’t seek treatment until more serious complications develop. Even after whiplash victims settle their insurance claims, between 39%-56% report theys till suffer with symptoms two years later.
When no bones are broken and the head doesn’t strike the windshield, typical symptoms are as follows: 92% complain of neck pain, which typically starts two hours up to two days after the accident. This is often the result of tightened muscles that react to either muscle tears or excessive movement of joints from ligament damage. The muscles tighten in an effort to splint and support the head, limiting the excessive movement.
About 57% of those suffering from whiplash complain of headaches. The pain may be on one side or both, on again off again or constant, in one spot or more generalized. These headaches, like the neck pain, are often the result of tightened, tensed muscles trying to keep the head stable and, like tension headaches, they are often felt behind the eyes.
Shoulder pain often described as pain radiating down the back of the neck into the shoulder blade area, may also be the result of tensed muscles, accounting for 49% of injuries caused by whiplash.
Muscle tears are often described as burning pain, prickling or tingling. More severe disc damage may cause sharp pain with certain movements, with or without radiation into the arms, hand and fingers, which are relieved by holding your hand over your head.
LOWER BACK PAIN
COMMON CAUSES OF LOWER BACK PAIN
On many occasions you first feel back pain just after you lift a heavy object, move suddenly, sit in one position for a long time, sustain an injury or have been in an accident. Prior to that moment in time, there was often a pre-existing weakness, or loss of tissue integrity in your spinal structures.
The specific structures in your back responsible for your pain are difficult to determine in many cases. Whether identified or not, there are several possible sources of low back pain:
-Bulging or Herniated Discs
-Injury or Overuse of Muscles, Ligaments, Facet Joints, and the Sacroiliac Joints
-Muscle Spasm (very tense muscles that remain contracted)
-Degeneration of the Discs
-Poor Alignment or Fixations of the Vertebrae
-Spinal Stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal)
-Small Fractures to the Spine from Osteoporosis
-Strain or Tears to the Muscles or Ligaments Supporting the Back
-Spinal Curvatures (like scoliosis or kyphosis), which may be Inherited and seen in Children or Teens
LESS COMMON CAUSES OF LOWER BACK PAIN
-Ankylosing Spondylitis, which is a Form of Joint Inflammation (Arthritis) that most Often Affects the Spine
-Bacterial Infection, in which Bacteria are Often Carried to the Spine through the Bloodstream From an Infection Somewhere Else in the Body or from IV Drug use. However, Bacteria can also Enter the Spine Directly During Surgery or Injection Treatments, or as the Result of Injury. Back Pain may also be the Result of an Infection in the Bone (Osteomyelitis) or in the Spinal Cord (most Often in the Material Covering the Spinal Cord, Called an Epidural Infection)
-Spinal Tumors, or Growths that Develop on the Bones and Ligaments of the Spine, on the Spinal Cord, or on Nerve Roots
-Paget’s Disease, which Causes Abnormal Bone Growth most Often Affecting the Pelvis, Spine, Skull, Chest, and Legs
-Scheuermann’s Disease, in which One or more of the Bones of the Spine (Vertebrae) Develop Wedge-Shaped Deformities. This Causes Curvature of the Spine (Rounding of the Back, or Kyphosis), most Commonly in the Chest Region
YOU ARE AT PARTICULAR RISK FOR LOWER BACK PAIN IF YOU:
-Work in Construction or Another Job Requiring Heavy Lifting, Lots of Bending and Twisting, or Whole Body Vibration
-Smoke, don’t Exercise, and/or are Overweight
-Are Over Age 30
-Have Bad Posture
-Have Arthritis or Osteoporosis
-Have a Low Pain Threshold